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Bangladesh, India start freight train services on Haldibari-Chilahati route


Bangladesh and India on Sunday started regular operation of freight trains through restored Haldibari-Chilahati rail route, aiming to "strengthen rail connectivity and bilateral trade" between the two countries, reports UNB.

It will also enhance rail network accessibility to the main ports and dry ports to support the growth in regional trade and to encourage economic and social development of the region, said the Indian high commission in Dhaka on Sunday.

The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link is the fifth rail link between Bangladesh and India that has been made operational.

The commodities that can be exported from India to Bangladesh through this rail route include stones and boulders, food grain, fresh fruits, chemical fertilizer, onion, chilies, garlic, ginger, fly ash, clay, limestone and wood.

From Bangladesh to India all exportable commodities are permitted.

Indian Railways dispatched the first freight train loaded with stones from Damdim station of Northeast Frontier Railway to Bangladesh.

After the partition in 1947, seven rail links were operational between India and the then East Pakistan until 1965.

Presently, there are four operational rail links between Bangladesh and India.

These are - Petrapole (India) - Benapole (Bangladesh), Gede (India) – Darshana (Bangladesh), Singhabad (India)-Rohanpur (Bangladesh), Radhikapur (India)–Birol (Bangladesh).

The Haldibari-Chilahati rail link is one such route which was operational till 1965.

The leadership of both Bangladesh and India are committed to revive all the pre-1965 railway links between the two countries.

The restoration work was undertaken by the railways of both the countries to revive this rail link.

After the restoration, this railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh) was jointly inaugurated by the prime ministers of Bangladesh and India during the prime minister level virtual bilateral summit on December 17, 2020.